Small groups are where some of the most important ministry happens in the local church. This isn’t to say anything bad about the pastor and his sermon, the children’s ministry, or anything else. But it’s easy to show up on Sundays and consume a sermon like it’s a class lecture or create a children’s ministry that’s more about having fun than it is leading kids to know and love Jesus. When we are deeply involved in the ministry that happens in a church small group, it can become difficult to hide. There are plenty of easy places to hide in church, but a small group, especially one held in someone’s home, is one of the hardest places to hide. Small groups are often the places where church members bare their souls with one another, pray with one another, and provide for one another. It is where the body of Christ can often feel most real, most tangible.

If small groups are so important, then, how do we get more people to participate in them? Here are a few things to keep in mind:

1. Create a culture of community.

Some churches focus on the Sunday worship experience and don’t invest much in ministry outside the church walls. This is a tragedy. The vast majority of ministry takes place outside the church walls and is a result of church members loving one another and their communities. If pastors and church leaders focus on the ministry that happens on Sunday morning over and above what happens outside of Sunday morning, it should be no wonder why church members aren’t particularly interested in being a part of a small group on a weeknight in a church member’s home. If a church hopes to involve as many people as possible in the vital work of small group ministry, the pastors and church leaders have to intentionally create and celebrate a culture of community from the stage and throughout the communication efforts of the church.

2. Provide a variety of options.

Schedules are crazy and kind of annoying, aren’t they? One of the best ways to ensure few people participate in the small group ministry of your church is to only offer groups on a couple of nights of the week. This limits the options and opportunities people have to participate, naturally.

As you coordinate the small group ministry and strategy of your church, consider having a group that meets every single day of the week if you can manage it, but fill in the weekends last, as those are likely to be the least available for many who may travel or otherwise have inconsistent schedules each weekend. In the same way, while many small groups meet in homes, your context may be benefitted by having one or two small groups meet in the church building itself. This is a good option to consider as well. The point is this: provide a variety of options to be sure that schedule and availability is no reason for someone to not participate. One Church Software offers tools to help you promote your various small-group ministries.  A list of groups or an individual group can be embedded into your church website, with information about the group, its leaders and a way to register.  There are also tools to let potential small group members filter through the list of available groups based on when or where the group meets, if childcare is available, and more.

3. Share testimonies of how groups change lives.

This is an important aspect of small group ministry that is often overlooked. Real life change happens in small groups. This is understood. But too often the real life change that happens within a small group is never shared with the broader church body. This is sad! To the extent that church members are comfortable sharing about how their lives were impacted by their small groups, it would be tremendous to have regular testimonies of change during the Sunday service experience. What better small group marketing opportunity is there than to share about the change that happens during the week during the Sunday gathering?

Celebrate Ministries You Want to Grow

As it is said, we cultivate what we celebrate. If you want more church members to participate in the small group ministry of your church, as you should, you need to celebrate that ministry and the ways God works through it. The work of the Holy Spirit that happens in members’ homes during the week shouldn’t be divorced from the worship that happens inside the walls of the church on Sunday mornings. Integrate the two. Use some time on Sunday to celebrate what happened on Monday or Thursday or whenever your groups are meeting. Make it easy for people to join and share the stories of how God work

Easter is fast approaching! It’s hard to believe we are already back to that time again after what has seemed like a year in the Twilight Zone. Last Easter pastors and church leaders were having to grapple with how to celebrate Easter at church as a global pandemic invaded their communities. This year, though the pandemic is not gone and life is not quite back to normal, churches are likely to have a bit more of an idea of how to handle Easter to best serve their communities.

Regardless of how your church celebrates Easter this year—whether online only, in-person only, or some combination of the two—you will have guests in attendance! Aside from Christmas, Easter is when most churches see the most attendees in a given year. Even amidst the dying light of a global pandemic, following up with these guests is as important as ever. Having an intentional follow-up process is important for church growth. Hosting a spring community event, for instance, is a great way to invite your Easter guests back to meet church leaders and members so that they may be more comfortable coming back on a Sunday.

Whatever you plan to do for your guests, preparation is vital. Here are three basic ways to get ready for your in-person or physical guests who will arrive this Easter:

1. Prepare ways to collect information in-person and online.

Obviously, you will have some number of guests show up for your Easter services. Some of them may be watching the live stream if you have one. Others will surely show up for the in-person gathering if you are able to meet in your building. You ought to be ready to collect information from guests no matter how they attend your church on Easter. A guest that attends your church and leaves without having given his or her information to the church is a missed opportunity to connect them with the body of Christ and the supportive community of the local church.

There are a number of ways to go about collecting information from guests. The Digital Forms feature in One Church Software is a helpful tool to collect information from guests, whether they are attending in person or online. If you have a church staff member present in your live stream chat, they can just drop the link to the digital form for anyone watching online. If you have access to a computer, iPad, or iPhone, church volunteers could be posted throughout the church to fill out the form for guests as they arrive for the in-person service.

However you do it, just do it! Don’t miss an opportunity to connect with people who attend on Easter.

HELPFUL LINKS
How do I add a form?

2. Ensure your kids check-in systems are ready to go.

Families who are attending a church for the first time need to know that their children are going to be safe and cared for during the service. It could be argued that nothing is more important for the retention of a new family than the efficiency and trustworthiness of a church’s children’s check-in process. If your check-in process is haphazard, disorganized, or otherwise concerning, it is likely you will never see some of the families that attend on Easter ever again.

With One Church Software, you can be sure your children’s ministry check-in process is streamlined and good-to-go so that your children’s ministry volunteers can be focused on making new parents and children feel welcome and safe rather than fumbling with technology all morning.

On top of all of this, families checking their kids in for children’s ministries is another great place to connect information from them! Don’t miss an opportunity to do that as well.

HELPFUL LINKS
Check-In Station Tutorial

3. Set up a way for new guests to message church leaders for more information. 

Through One Church Software, you can set up a way for anyone who comes to your church to text the church. Most people are comfortable texting these days, so this can be a super easy, non-intimidating way for new people to reach out to the church staff for more information about different parts of your church.

One really cool feature of the One Church Software texting tool is that you can create keywords that send automated responses to texters. So, for example, if you want to send Easter guests a text full of information and links for them to get more involved with your church, you can just instruct them to text “GUEST” to the text phone number and they will get everything you want them to receive, without any church staff having to type out anything in real time! To connect it back to the first point, you could have your text service send anyone who texts “GUEST” straight to the digital form you’ve made! Super easy. 

HELPFUL LINKS
How do I set up keyword text messaging?
Keyword Text Messaging with One Church Software. (VIDEO)

Prepare and Connect

You will have guests this Easter, either online or in person. When it comes down to it, making the most of your guest influx and serving them effectively comes down to two tasks: prepare and connect. By taking the time to prepare well, you can make guests feel as welcome as possible on Easter Sunday. Then, by collecting information and following up with guests afterward, you can connect with them and lead them to be more involved with your church family. 

Don’t waste Easter. Don’t miss an opportunity to connect your community to your church and introduce people to Jesus. One Church is here to help you do maximize your ministry effectiveness.

One Church Software received top placement in Gartner Digital Markets’ research report. This report measures church management software based upon verified end-user reviews and product data, positioning the top scoring products based on product Usability and Customer Satisfaction ratings.  The chart below highlights One Church Software’s top position among other church management solutions in both of these two categories. The Usability rating in the Gartner report accounted for high customer ratings on One Church Software’s functionality and ease-of-use. Likewise, Gartner’s Customer Satisfaction scale was based on a threefold measure of customer support, a customer’s likelihood to recommend One Software to others, and on One Church Software’s value for money scale.

One Church Software also received top placement among volunteer management solutions, out pacing industry giants like Salesforce.

Additionally, One Church Software received a Top 5 rating from GetApp’s Category Leaders in Church Management report. This is an annual ranking highlighting leading apps inside the most popular categories.

The Gartner network which includes Capterra, Software Advice, and GetApp provides resources and customer reviews to help churches determine which church management software best meets their organization’s immediate and future needs. Links to each report can be found below.

Software Advice FrontRunner in Church Management Software 2020
Software Advice FrontRunner in Volunteer Management Software 2020
GetApp Category Leaders 2020

We are excited to announce that we have partnered with Protect My Ministry to help ministries implement and maintain a thorough background screening program for employees, staff and volunteers. This fully integrated service lets you order and manage background checks directly within the One Church Software platform.

With this integration, you can enjoy:

  • Fast turnaround times on submitted requests. Typically same day – 48 hours.
  • Free “re-verification” of records from the national criminal database.
  • True 50 state search on sexual offenders.
  • Great balance between cost and comprehensiveness.

Protect My Ministry is the leading church background screening CRA serving over 35,000 ministries in all 50 states and they are committed to helping faith-based organizations maintain a safe environment.

We have provided a host of support articles describing the steps needed to start submitting background checks within your One Church Software account.

This background checking service is available within all of our subscription plans.

*Image Unsplash

States have different requirements for churches that are planning to reopen after the Covid-19 (Coronavirus) quarantine. If your state is limiting the number of attendees or requiring attendance records, then you will likely need a system to help manage these requirements. Below is how you can use our Events Module and custom Form-Builder to reopen more smoothly. 

If you’re asking people to register for a service and would like to create a waitlist, you can accomplish this by creating a form with a required item/ticket field setting the max number of tickets based on availability (maximum number of attendees or tickets allowed “Availability Field”). 

*Limits per person section: The minimum would be set to 1 so that every submission would have at least one. It’s also recommended to add a maximum so that one person doesn’t “sell out” the service.

Once the available tickets run out, the “Service” will read SOLD OUT on the form. You can create as many Services as you are making available to your community within the same item/ticket field (see above). When those tickets are SOLD OUT, the only other option is to select the Waitlist service option, which is unlimited in Availability (leave those fields empty).  

Within the submissions tab of the form, you are able to see who registered and how many seats (tickets or attendees) they registered. 

Make sure you are clear in the description of what it means to choose Waitlist and what will happen if availability opens up. 

I would also suggest adding a required check box field that provides expectations for your attendees along with health and safety guidelines. 

After your form is complete (and listed), you can link directly to the form’s URL, share via the Social-Share buttons, or you can connect it to your Event.

If you need more help creating an Event see the article below. 

How to create an Event. >> https://support.onechurchsoftware.com/en/articles/1302711-how-do-i-add-an-event

Keep in mind that you can also create email confirmations and automated follow-ups to your form submissions. For more help on building forms, follow the link below.  >> https://support.onechurchsoftware.com/en/collections/711308-forms

We are excited to announce that we have launched our safe, secure, and fully integrated giving solution.  One Church Giving allows churches and ministries to accept tithes, offerings, and donations easily in a variety of ways, including check and card, and as single or recurring transactions.

One Church Giving also allows your church’s financial staff quick and easy access to view, in real-time, all tithes and offerings for any given day, week, month, or year. Additionally, your church members will be able to see amounts given, the frequency of their giving, and print statements as needed.

Features that set us apart:

  • Low rates for credit cards and ACH.
  • We don’t charge more for American Express!
  • Fast setup (can start processing within 40 minutes).
  • Donors can optionally help cover the processing fees so more of their donation makes it to your church.
  • Accept payments on custom forms and event registrations.
  • Set up and manage recurring giving.
  • Text giving.
  • Gross vs. Net reporting on all online contributions, which means bank reconciliation is easy.

We also provide tools to help church members engage with your church’s eGiving solution.

  • Quick Start Guide to help with education and on-boarding
  • Sermon Outlines on Generosity
  • Bullet Inserts

Visit OneChurchSoftware.com/egiving to see rate plans, FAQs, and a list of features.

In this video, we will discuss some key features of One Church Software. This video provides just a brief overview of our software. We encourage you to sign up for a live demo to go deeper and to better understand how One Church Software can help equip, organize, and grow your church through technology.

00:23 – People Directory

People are central to the life of your church, and therefore, people are a central component of our platform. We offer everything you need to help manage and track a person’s involvement within your organization. You can even add custom fields to record information unique to your church. People can be grouped into families, an individual can be designated as the head of a particular family, and they can update information specific to their family on their own without the assistance of an administrator.

00:55 – Communication

We also make it easy to communicate with individuals in your church. One Church customers can send emails, text messages, and voicemail in bulk or individually. Query builders provide a way to target exactly who you want to communicate with based on any criteria; our easy-to-use, drag-and-drop email designer will allow you to create beautiful emails, which can be sent immediately or scheduled for a later date. Also, email templates can be created to manage a consistent look and feel every time you share information through email.

01:28 – Workflow & Automation

Our automation suite is a powerful part of our platform, because it allows for quick and intentional follow-up, which is critical for people to get connected or to receive care.

You can create workflows that mirror your organization’s manual processes, whether that is following up with a first-time guest or responding to a prayer request submitted online. With One Church Software you can automate emails, send text messages, update person profiles, create assignments, and more to provide a personal touch to the automated workflow. You can create triggers which will add people to the correct process without the need to do so yourself. With our automation suite, your church can ensure that people are receiving the proper information and care that they need.

02:18 – Online Form Builder

Using our powerful form designer, you can easily create custom forms to start collecting sign-ups, general information, and even payments. Whether you are collecting baptism sign-ups or event registrations, our fully customizable forms make it easy to collect the information you need.

Once the form is designed, you can embed it directly into your web site, share it on social media, or email a direct link of the form. You can also add it to a SMS keyword for others to receive via text. All submissions are stored in an easy to understand format. As well, you can be notified when someone completes one of your forms. Form submissions can be linked to workflow processes to automate what happens when someone completes the form or gives specific responses. This is a powerful option which goes far beyond simply collecting information.

03:10 – Groups

Groups allow you to organize people around a common interest. With One Church Software, you have easy access to all of the your groups in one centralized place. You can use groups to track attendance (manually or via the check-in system), schedule volunteers, communicate with members, share documents, and more. Each group has privacy settings which allows control over visibility and how new members can be added. You can assign one or more leaders to help manage their group, and groups can appear on the church calendar.

03:45 – Events

Our platform provides a full featured event management system which allows you to create events, manage and invite guests, track attendance, design custom sign-up forms, and even collect payments for each registration. You can organize these events into distinct calendars for which members of your organization can view and sign up. You can also control which events are public and which are private. Also, the facilities management tools let you manage the backend administration of making the event happen, such as booking rooms and other resources.

04:22 – Children’s Check-in

Children’s check-in makes safety and security a priority. A check-in station can be a computer, tablet, or phone. Check-in stations can add first-time guests and check them in all in the same flow. It’s easy to use, customizable, and can be connected to a barcode scanner and label printers.

04:45 – Volunteer Scheduling

With One Church Software, you can schedule volunteers easily using our drag and drop interface. Also, with our mobile-friendly design, your volunteers can accept or decline with ease by using their smartphone or other devices. (show mobile UI too) The system keeps track of your volunteers serving preferences and block-out dates. You can even open up serving needs so that the whole church can sign up.

05:12 – Financial tools

Access to giving statements and giving online is easy with One Church Software. We support one-time, recurring, and text giving via credit card and ACH. Your members will be able to set up recurring payments, give to a specific cause, and even split their contribution between multiple donation initiatives. In addition, your members have the option to give on behalf of their business. With our software, your church can easily create an online giving portal and embed it directly into your church website. Also, no login is required for your members to safely and securely give online.

With One Church software’s financial tools, your leadership also has access to a giving pledge management system with easily accessible reporting to tell if you are currently ahead or behind for a particular campaign. These are just some of the feature in our financial suite.

06:09 – Reporting Tools

With One Church’s reporting tool, your church can create customizable dashboards to keep up with metrics that are important to your ministry. Our powerful query builder allows you to write ad-hoc reports which return people matching the filters you set. The results come back lightning quick too, so you can spend more time analyzing instead of waiting. Results can be viewed in table format, pie chart, bar graphs, line graphs, and even mapped onto a map of the area. They can also be exported to CSV. These results are also actionable. You can create mail merges, address labels, send communication, and more.


Ministry is about reaching people for Christ, discipling, and caring for them well, while helping them to live on mission. We want to partner with you in ministry so that you can focus on how God has uniquely gifted you to lead His church.

Our desire is to provide software tools that help you minister more effectively to your members, volunteers, and community.

We encourage you to sign up for a free trial and to schedule a live demo with one of our software experts.